Clever Richmond forward Sam Lloyd is fully aware it’s not going to be easy to claim a regular spot in the Tigers’ senior side this year, in his second season of league football.
Lloyd, however, has worked diligently during the pre-season to give himself the best possible chance of doing just that.
And, the signs were clearly evident at Albury last Saturday, that Lloyd is capable of taking his game to another level in 2015.
The 25-year-old football journeyman produced an impressive four-goal display in Richmond’s 66-point win against Port Adelaide in the AFL’s pre-season challenge series.
“I was happy to get a run and contribute a bit in the second half on the weekend and get away with a win . . ,” Lloyd said on RSN.
“I haven’t done six months of pre-season without thinking I’m not going to play (seniors). So I’m surely hoping that I can get a spot there.
“There’s a lot of competition at the moment . . . everyone’s flying and everyone’s had a good pre-season. But I suppose it’s healthy competition, and it’s good to see because everyone’s giving the coaches a bit to think about.”
Lloyd, who kicked 10 goals in eight senior appearances with the Tigers in his 2014 AFL debut season, including three bags of three (v Collingwood, Round 4, v Geelong, Round 7 and v Port Adelaide, Round 17), believes that taste of top-shelf football will be of significant benefit to him this year.
“It was a good experience playing last year . . . probably more than I expected to play eight games, being my first year and the pre-season I had coming in,” he said.
“I gained a lot of experience from it last year and took a few things out of it. I had to work on my fitness and tried to get a bit quicker over the summer, and tried to get a bigger engine to play that half-forward role.”
Although a natural forward, Lloyd is hoping continual improvement in his fitness levels may eventually lead to him spending some time in the midfield.
“I’ve played a bit of midfield, but played mostly forward my whole career. I think playing forward, it just sort of comes to me a little bit,” he said.
“At the moment, I’ll probably stick up forward and maybe pinch-hit in a couple of centre bounces. But as it goes on, and as I further increase my endurance, I hope to get in the midfield at some stage.”